I hate to break it to you– but it’s a rare gem to have a great idea come to mind out of nowhere.
Ideas come from other ideas, and those ideas come from information. In order to have ideas, you have to consume other ideas day in and day out.
This means constantly learning. You should be reading books you’ve never heard of, studying topics you’ve never studied, and putting yourself in new situations constantly. There’s really no such thing as original thought. Every word you think is inspired.
From a book, you can get a new perspective. You can see a sentence that resonates, and write a whole book out of that one sentence.
Right now, I’m reading two books. One is This Is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan, and the other is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. I’m watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. I’m speaking to new people, and I’m crawling social media. I’m sucking in information like a parasite and I’m a writing machine.
I recently wrote an article called 10 Easy Ideas to Get You Out of a Funk: Beating Creative Block. The suggestions are helpful, but I failed to see what connected all the methods at the time. Every method involves pulling information from an atypical source.
I see this constantly in my writing. I read a chapter out of a book, and draw a new connection to one of the author’s ideas. This leads to a one thousand word article about what this means for me, the morality of the topic, the history of the topic, and many other expansions. The more I consume, the more questions I ask, and the more questions I answer in writing for everyone else to read.
Even when driving my car to work, I am listening to a podcast. I listen to true crime, comedy, and even business talks. I am only listening, but subconsciously my mind is waking up and soaking in information. By the time I get to work, my hands are itching to open my journal and start writing something down.
Waiting for a vision will take too long. You may have one good idea a year, if you’re lucky. Consumption is the key to constant inspiration.
Your mind begs to be learning. Feed your mind, and it will give you what you desire.